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Legal Consequences of Car Accidents

After an accident, several factors determine whether you will face any legal consequences. For example, you will get a fine or imprisonment if you had an accident and left the scene. However, the legal consequence of car accidents depends on the seriousness of the accident.

This article is an easy guide to understanding legal issues and what to do after an accident.

Let’s get started.

Legal Consequences of Car Accidents

There can be several consequences of a car accident in Canada. Here are a few facts to consider:

Leaving the accident scene is an offence in Canada, whether you’re directly or indirectly involved. Also, you need to get back to the accident scene immediately in case you leave.

Moreover, you should give your information, i.e., name, phone number, address, or insurance number, if you’re involved in an accident.

Generally, accidents are categorized in two ways—Criminal Code and Highway Traffic Act. So, your charges will depend on the accident type.

Read Also: Failure to Remain at The Scene of an Accident

Criminal Code

The Criminal Code is for people who fail to stop after an accident. In such cases, the prosecutor needs to prove that the person who caused the accident was reckless or knew the vehicle was involved.

You will face legal consequences if you fail to follow a few rules and regulations. Some of them are:

  • You need to stop your vehicle
  • You should provide your information
  • You should help if anyone is injured in the accident.

After an accident, the Crown will ask whether the person driving the vehicle was somehow involved. In most cases, the police investigate the registered vehicle owner as of the main suspect.

Eventually, they will ask for more information when the owner denies driving at that time. They would also ask whether someone else was driving or borrowed the car during the accident.

If you’re a hit-and-run case suspect, you should hire a lawyer before talking to the police. The more serious an accident gets, the more legal consequences you have to face. Therefore, the charges will depend on the provincial act and criminal Code.


It is a hybrid offence when you leave after an accident.

Under the Criminal Code, if you’re convicted, you will:

  • Get imprisonment for about 2 years when the case is less serious (summarily)
  • Get imprisonment for about 10 years when the case is more serious (by indictment).

You may, in certain situations, get a license suspension through the court. Eventually, this will be added to your criminal record.

Highway Traffic Act

Your responsibilities are different when you’re directly or indirectly involved in an accident under Highway Traffic Act.

You will face legal consequences if you fail to follow a few rules and regulations. Some of them are:

  • You should immediately return or stay at the accident scene
  • You should help if anyone is injured in the accident.
  • You should provide your information, like name, address, number, insurance company name, policy number, etc.


Under the Highway Traffic Act, the penalty includes:

  • $400 to $2000 fine
  • 6 months of jail
  • Demerit points
  • Maximum 2 years of license suspension.

What to Do After a Car Accident?

You may or may not be involved in a car accident that affected property, caused injuries, or even death. But you need a few legal steps to protect yourself after a car accident.

Here are the following steps:

Stay on the accident scene

After an accident, you should immediately return or stay at the accident scene. Leaving the scene would be a crime whether you’re involved in the accident or not. Ask the other party whether or not they are injured, and check yourself.

Call an ambulance

After checking whether you or anyone is injured in the accident, you should immediately call an ambulance if you see any injuries. Make sure to avoid touching the injured person. But you can help if you’re medically trained, or the victim needs it.

For instance, think about a car burning, and you are saving a victim by bringing them out of the car. After that, you should stop the other car around to prevent another accident. You can use hazard signals for such cases.

Let the police know

After checking for injuries, you should let the police know about the accident.

But, you should consider the following factors:

Property damage or injury under $2000

There is no legal requirement to contact or wait for the police if the property damage or injury is under $2000. Also, you can avoid getting the police when no one’s injured. Even if you call, the police may avoid the accident scene.

Sometimes, you might damage others’ property, like guard rails, someone’s lawn, telephone poles, etc. Eventually, there is a high chance that you need to take your car to the collision reporting centre for such cases.

Property damage or injury over $2000

When you see the accident involves more than $2000 of property damage or injury, you should immediately report the police. It is very important to calculate the property damage carefully as most people tend to ignore this step. When you fail you report an accident, you will get demerit points or a fine.

You should know that you can’t add personal injuries as your defence. So, in some situations, people often get confused about whether the damage crossed over $2000. Therefore, if the amount is near $2000, you might get the property damage amount. The police, sometimes, can suggest you take the vehicle to the collision reporting center.

Gather information

Make sure to collect information from other drivers involved in the accident. Additionally, you can ask the passerby or witness at an accident scene.

Also, pictures of the damages, accident scenes and injuries are important. If possible, you can capture the weather and road conditions of the accident day. Hence, you can use this information if you require it in the future.

Contact your lawyer

Then, you must contact your lawyer. They will help you get the best results even when it’s not your fault. After you hire a lawyer, you can move to contact the insurance company.

Contact the insurance company

Every insurance company require to get the accident situations even when there’s less damage. An accident will always go against you even though you pay 100%.

In most insurance companies, the rates are based on accident risks. Also, the insurance rate would remain the same if you’re not at fault.

What happens if you don’t let your insurance company know?

You have to take the car to the collision reporting centre if you want an insurance claim. However, some people choose not to let the insurance company know.

As mentioned, you can avoid the situation if the damage is under $2000. But the other driver might take the step of contacting their insurance company. Eventually, that insurance company would contact your insurance company and get to know about the accident.

When an insurance company finds out about the accident, they might choose not to renew or cancel the policy. Eventually, you will face trouble.

Final Verdict

This article might help you to know the legal consequences of car accidents. The consequences always vary based on the seriousness. You should hire a lawyer if you’re somehow involved in an accident. As they deal with such cases regularly, they will help you with the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the consequences of accidents?

The cost of the legal system, the cost of pain and suffering and the loss of quality of life for the victim and their family are some of the social effects of car accidents. A big part of the total cost to society comes from the loss of productivity.

Can a car accident affect you years later?

Chronic pain syndrome, nerve root compression resulting in a loss of strength and movement, and even depression as a result of continuing pain are all long-term issues. Rear-end accidents are a common cause of whiplash. The neck hyperextends from a back to forward posture as a result of the collision.

What are the direct consequence of road accidents?

Direct Consequences of Accidents are:

  • Fatality(death)
  • Injury.
  • Property damage.

Can you claim for emotional distress after car accident?

If you were in a vehicle accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for both physical and emotional damage. Anxiety is one example.

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